Ontario

HOW DOES HIV AND AIDS AFFECT ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN ONTARIO?

  • In general, Aboriginal people experienced HIV at rates about 3.6 times higher than other Canadians in 2008.  (1)
  • Aboriginal people living in Ontario make up 23% of the First Nations population in Canada; and 19% of the Métis population live in Ontario.  (2)
  • However, Ontario does not currently report on ethnicity for positive HIV tests.  (3)

The limited HIV data on the Aboriginal population in Ontario represents a growing concern

  • While Aboriginals made up 1.1% of HIV cases in Ontario, this proportion has grown over time from 0.0% cases in 1981-1984 to 3.2% of cases in 2000-2004.  (4)

The Aboriginal population is more vulnerable to contracting HIV and AIDS because of unique factors and social determinants of health

A person’s vulnerability [to HIV infection] increases or decreases based on:

  • income,
  • education,
  • unemployment,
  • access to stable housing,
  • early childhood development (e.g. history of child abuse),
  • physical environments (e.g. geographically  isolated communities, prison environments),
  • access to health services,
  • support networks and social environments (e.g. homophobia, HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination),
  • gender,
  • a history of sexual violence, and,
  • for this [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and the multigenerational effects of colonialism and the residential school system.  (5)

(1)  Public Health Agency of Canada, Population-Specific HIV/AIDS Status Report: Aboriginal Peoples, 2008 at 19, [PHAC].

(2)  PHAC at 4 to 5.

(3)  PHAC at 18.

(4)  Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, HIV and AIDS: Aboriginal Peoples of Ontario, retrieved at http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/hivaids/aboriginal.html on October 20, 2011.

(5)  PHAC at vii.

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